de·​tox·​i·​fy | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈtäk-sə-ˌfī \
detoxified; detoxifying

Definition of detoxify

transitive verb

1a : to remove a harmful substance (such as a poison or toxin) or the effect of such from
b : to render (a harmful substance) harmless
2 : to free (someone, such as a drug user or an alcoholic) from an intoxicating or an addictive substance in the body or from dependence on or addiction to such a substance

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Other Words from detoxify

detoxification \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌtäk-​sə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən \ noun

Did You Know?

These days, detoxify can mean to free (someone) from a substance addiction (and yes, it's the source of detox, a more recent word that also refers to getting drugs or alcohol out of a person's system). Originally, however, detoxification was something done to things rather than to people. In its earliest uses - from about 1905 - detoxify referred to the removal of poison, or of poisonous or damaging properties, from a harmful substance, or to the removal of poisonous or toxic substances from something contaminated (such as the bloodstream).The specific application to removing poison from an addict is relatively new, dating to the mid-20th century. Today, detoxify is also often used generally in reference to counteracting the activity or effect of anything harmful (such as propaganda).

Examples of detoxify in a Sentence

a special tea that is supposed to detoxify the body a drug addict who is being detoxified

Recent Examples on the Web

Can a colon cleanse detoxify your body to its purist form? Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "What’s the Best Way to Cleanse? A Guide to Detoxing in 2019," 1 Jan. 2019 The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks, and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Detox Diets Aren't Real or Healthy — and Body "Toxins" Don't Exist," 1 Jan. 2019 The part of this service that feels truly detoxifying is the simple feat of being in a room without your device for a full 80 minutes, no ambient phone vibrations tormenting you from inside of your bag. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 When your poop is light, the liver isn't producing enough bile, which means your body is not detoxifying well. Tehrene Firman, Redbook, "12 Things Your Poop Says About Your Health," 15 Aug. 2017 Click and ship a detoxifying mud mask, such as ThisWorks' Malachite-packed, anti-pollution treatment or, to brighten up a dull complexion, SK-II's Overnight Miracle, which promises radiant skin by morning. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Best Face Masks to Cure Every Skin Issue This Summer," 2 June 2018 Benefits of the drink, as cited on their e-commerce site, include detoxifying properties, electrolytes, antioxidants, minerals, and the ability to balance PH levels., "This Black-Owned Water Company Is Gaining Global Attention," 11 July 2018 Sweat is detoxifying Some people pay good money to sit in a sauna and sweat out the bad stuff coursing through their bodies. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "8 reasons to love the Phoenix heat in summer," 14 July 2018 Sun Basket Focusing on detoxifying and anti-inflammatory ingredients, Sun Basket’s Lean & Clean program is designed to cleanse the body and take the hassle out of preparing dinner. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "5 New Healthy Meal-Delivery Programs, Just In Time for Summer," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detoxify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of detoxify

circa 1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for detoxify

The first known use of detoxify was circa 1905

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English Language Learners Definition of detoxify

: to remove a poisonous or harmful substance from (something)
: to cause (someone) to stop using drugs or alcohol by providing special help and treatment


de·​tox·​i·​fy | \ (ˈ)dē-ˈtäk-sə-ˌfī \
detoxified; detoxifying

Medical Definition of detoxify

transitive verb

1a : to remove a poison or toxin or the effect of such from
b : to render (a harmful substance) harmless
2 : to free (as a drug user or an alcoholic) from an intoxicating or an addictive substance in the body or from dependence on or addiction to such a substance the clinic started detoxifying him by gradually lowering his dosage— J. M. Markham

intransitive verb

: to become free of addiction to a drug or alcohol

Other Words from detoxify

detoxification \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌtäk-​sə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən \ noun

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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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